Published: 11:15, 06 March 2017
Businesses and young people are praising apprenticeships as a route to a career as part of National Apprenticeship Week.
It is the 10th time the event has been held, celebrating the chance to ‘earn while you learn’, with a series of events going on across the county.
“Year-on-year I am overwhelmed by how many organisations get behind National Apprenticeship Week to celebrate the positive impact apprenticeships have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy,” said Sue Husband, director of the National Apprenticeship Service.
“I have no doubt that this, our 10th National Apprenticeship Week, will be our biggest and best yet.”
Drugs giant Pfizer employs more than 35 apprentices in science and engineering roles at its laboratories at Discovery Park in Sandwich.
Charlotte Carr, 21, who lives in Ramsgate, is studying to be a laboratory scientist after completing her A-levels.
She said: “It’s been fantastic to have the opportunity to work with one of the world’s best pharmaceutical companies while also gaining academic qualifications.
"I couldn’t have asked for a better start to my career in the sciences.”
Gravesham Borough Council has 12 apprentices working in a range of areas, from its benefits and finance departments to more hands-on roles in its Brookvale depot.
One of the council’s longest-serving former apprentices is 39-year-old Helen Lane-Blackwell, who began her career with the council as an apprentice in 1995.
She said: “I started as a clerical assistant in the benefits team carrying out all clerical work.
“It was very different to being at school but I enjoyed being in the office environment.
"It was a bit daunting at first but everyone was welcoming and it was such a busy office, there was so much to learn and I enjoyed having more responsibility than being at school.”
The newest apprentice for the council is 18-year-old Charlie Barrett. He works in the regulatory department after beginning work in August.
He said: “I applied for the apprenticeship as I wanted to learn more about admin roles and what Gravesham dealt with.
"I also knew some people who worked here who also encouraged me to apply.
“I am finding this apprenticeship very good and really helpful. Gravesham is a very happy place to work in.
"I’d encourage other young people to apply for an apprenticeship as it is the best way to learn about working life and you also get a qualification while you are in the apprenticeship.”